BSc (Hons) Biology (Including Foundation Year)

If you don’t quite have the right qualifications to start our three year BSc (Hons) Biology degree or if you want to gain more confidence in higher level work, you could opt to start your studies with a foundation year. Are you fascinated by the scientific study of living organisms, from the molecular details of disease causing bacteria through to the ecology and evolution of large mammals? Our MBiol Biology degree is ideal if you have a keen interest in living organisms and want to gain an all-round knowledge of the subject of Biology. This complex and enthralling area of science defines our very existence, and graduates of biology degrees are well equipped to address some of the biggest problems facing our world such as how to combat antibiotic resistance, or how species adapt to climate change.

Based in our state-of-the-art laboratories and teaching rooms, you’ll study a wide range of stimulating topics, and develop the broad foundation of knowledge and solid practical experience that is required to start an exciting scientific career. The acquisition of theory will be complemented by the practical application of skills on field courses in the UK and abroad (additional costs apply to overseas field courses). Our Biology degree is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology for the purpose of meeting in part the academic and experience requirement for the Membership and Chartered Biologist (CBiol).

UCAS Code Study Mode
2017
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
3W6M Full-time 4 Years September Glyntaff A
UCAS Code Study Mode
2018
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
3W6M Full-time 4 Years September Glyntaff A

Foundation year

  • Foundation Statistics
  • Foundations of Mathematics
  • Essentials of Science
  • Foundation Biology
  • Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology
  • Foundation Chemistry
  • Physical Science

Year One consists of the following modules:

  • Microorganisms and the Dynamic Cell (20 credits)
  • Genetics and Evolution (20 credits)
  • Biological Research Skills (20 credits)
  • Evolutionary Botany and Zoology (20 credits)
  • Principles of Ecology (20 credits)
  • Biological Chemistry (20 credits)

Year Two:

  • Human Molecular Genetics (20 credits)
  • Frontiers in Biology (20 credits)
  • GIS for the Biological Sciences (20 credits)
  • Vertebrate Zoology (20 credits)
  • Medical Microbiology (20 credits)

Plus one of:

  • Ecological and Wildlife assessment (20 credits)
  • Ethology (20 credits)
  • Tropical Ecology and Conservation (20 credits)
  • Metabolism and Biochemistry (20 credits)

Year Three:

  • Biology Research project (40 credits)
  • Humans and other primates (20 credits)
  • Agriculture, Evolution and Biotechnology (20 credits)

Then either two of:

  • Advanced Ecology (20 credits)
  • Marine and Freshwater Biology (20 credits)
  • Global Ecological Change (20 credits)
    Or:
  • Tropical Medicine (20 credits)
  • Clinical and Molecular Immunology (20 credits)

Teaching

We teach using a combination of group activities, lectures, laboratory sessions, tutorials, directed learning, online activities, UK and overseas field trips. The number of contact hours per week will vary depending on your module choice and year of study, but on average you can expect 10-12 contact hours over five days a week. You will also need to spend a significant amount of time each week on preparation for classes, background reading, revision, or working on assignments.

There are a number of one-day local field trips included as part of the course. There is also an optional overseas field course, Tropical Ecology and Conservation, in which students in the second year will have the opportunity to learn to scuba dive and to develop their knowledge of tropical ecosystems, terrestrial and marine. 

Our teaching is complemented by a range of subject experts who give guest lectures for various modules. There is also a Biology Speakers Series with a variety of external speakers which third year students have to attend, and other students are encouraged to.

Assessment

A mixture of exams, portfolios, laboratory reports, practical skills (lab and field), presentations, group and individual assignments.

Facilities

As a science student you will benefit from the huge investment in facilities that has taken place at the University. Our courses are delivered from state-of-the-art laboratories and teaching facilities on our Pontypridd-Glyntaff campus.

Our new George Knox laboratories are part of a £15m investment in science for the University, meaning you will be taught in new and well equipped spaces.These join the Grade II listed Alfred Russel Wallace building which is also used for teaching.

You will benefit from several well-equipped laboratories for practical and project work. Our facilities include:

  • Microbiology laboratory capable of handling pathogens (category 2)
  • Molecular biology laboratory for DNA isolation and analysis
  • Projection microscopes in the microbiology and microscopy laboratories for group teaching
  • General biology laboratories for teaching, including a range of skeletons for vertebrate zoology
  • Computer rooms with specialist GIS software to support your learning

Entry criteria detail typical offers but USW considers all applications on an individual basis which means that we could make offers based on qualifications, personal profile and experience. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed may also be acceptable.

Typical A-Level Offer

EE to include a relevant Science subject but exclude General Studies

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

N/A

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Pass Pass Pass or BTEC Diploma Pass Pass in a relevant subject

Typical IB Offer

Pass IB Diploma or two IB Certficates at Higher level to include Science or Maths.

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass Maths or Science Diploma with 60 credits overall to include 45 level 3 credits all Passes

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 3 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

All fees are per year. Once you have started your course, your fee will remain the same for each year of study.

August 2017 - July 2018 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000 
  • Full-time International:  £11900 

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC
  • Full-time International: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) * £50 - £180
Field work requires rugged walking boots/shoes and waterproof and thermal clothing. Ranges from £50 to £180
Field Trips £2200 - £2500
Two and a half weeks in a tropical location including marine and terrestrial study sites, £300 for scuba dive training as additional option.
Other:
Please note that students who successfuly secure a placement in industry or abroad to complete their projects would be expected to pay for their own travelling costs to and from the venue during the period of placement. The cost of this will of course vary and some students have also paid for accomodation close to their place of work for the duration of their placement. Students are provided with reading lists but are not expected to buy any books, instead students are actively encouraged to make use of the extensive learning resources of the University. Many books are available as ebooks. The course uses the many computing facilities of the Glyntaff campus (students are not expected to buy their own computer but having a personal PC will help with their studies)

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year 1 of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU

Apply now 

Admissions statement

There is high demand for science graduates and graduates of our biology degree have found employment in a range of fields, including environmental consultancy, hospital laboratories, the food and drink industry, and teaching. Many biology undergraduates progress to a postgraduate biology degree or science degree.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.